Monday, January 31, 2011

Mappy Monday - Saint Cloud, Minnesota

This map of St. Cloud, Minnesota was created in 1896.  Alas, I acquired it years ago from a source I neglected to note, and thus I cannot credit them for its use.  Whoever you were, I thank you!

Looking at the map, you get a clear picture that cities are affected by geography, first and foremost.  Look at the city block layouts, and how they tend to parallel the river.  This makes for some interesting street layout and driving issues, with odd-angled intersections.  To further complicate this, St. Cloud became a railroad town very early on. You can see the railyard on the left side between the pink and grey sections.  My childhood home is in the pink section across the street from the railyard.  One of St. Cloud's quirks is that the rail lines bisect the city, with only a few crossing points, which drives traffic to funnel onto those few roads.

The heart of St. Cloud is in the yellow section on the west bank.  All of the old downtown is in there, and the St. Cloud State University (originally the St. Cloud Normal School) campus.  To the west of the curviest part of the river there is a small lake, Lake George.  I live within a few blocks of this lake.  Decades ago, the lake was reduced in size, and now occupies only about the northernmost 1/3 of the area shown on this map.  It's really little more than a pond in a city park now, and heavily landscaped.